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A Common-Sense Guide to Data Structures and Algorithms: Level Up Your Core Programming Skills

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  249 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Some copies of this book have a printing error that causes the figures to be unreadable. If you have received one of these copies, please contact the Pragmatic Bookshelf at, and we will replace it for you.

Algorithms and data structures are much more than abstract concepts. Mastering them enables you to write code that runs faster and more efficiently,
Paperback, 222 pages
Published August 29th 2017 by Pragmatic Bookshelf
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Krishna Chaitanya
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Data Structures and Algorithms is a broad subject, often confusing and hard to grasp. This book stands out differently by choosing simple and easy-to-understand narrative with lots of diagrams and step-by-step explanations. Real life scenarios are considered as examples to explain a DS/Algorithm which makes it a fun read.

Few words of caution, this book is not an in-depth material, few coding samples are missed, multiple programming languages are used which is confusing.

For those who are students
Gabriel Paiva
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really sensitive explanations, easy to read but also with the necessary depth.
Aug 19, 2017 rated it liked it
The book is not as it was advertised on the book's page. I was expecting a lot more out of this book as it was published by Pragprog, but I was somewhat disappointed. The earlier chapters are decent and contain some good explanations that are not too jargony, which is a plus for non-CS readers. However, the later chapters where the material gets more interesting and intense like binary trees and graphs, I think the author decided to conveniently omit to explain some parts or even providing code ...more
Patrick Coakley
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Common-Sense Guide to Data Structures and Algorithms is a fantastic entry-level look to data structures and algorithms that can also serve as a nice way to brush up if you've studied them in the past but got stuck on a few of the details. The amount of code samples and examples make it a really useful read for interview prep, as you can take a look at how to implement what you're studying in modern dynamic languages like Ruby, Python, or JavaScript. The author does a great job of making everyt ...more
Hafiz Hussain
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what a fantastic book. If you are struggling with the foundation data structure and the analysis of algorithms, I will recommend this book. What can the reader expect from this book?
Once you complete this book, you can expect the below topic will be on your fingertips.
1. Big O for Time Complexity
2. Big O for SPace Complexity
3. Arrays ( Insertion, Deletion, Searching, Read Big O Time Complexity )
4. OrderedArrays ( Insertion, Deletion, Searching, Read Big O Time Complexity )
5. Linear and Bina
Neeraj Krishna
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
while there are many books on the subject, this one stands out. Reason being the intuitive approach and the extra effort put by the author to elucidate each and every single step of the algorithm .
The book is language agnostic and code snippets were given in all the popular languages.
I used it as a supplement for the Udacity course - Data Structures and Algorithms.
Juan Ríos
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Intuitive and practical. Explains from scratch common algorithms and data structure to improve your programming game.
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very well explained in a plain language. However, I wanted it to cover more topics or/and more in depth. I also liked how it alternates between Ruby, Python and JavaScript in the example scripts. Recommend it to beginners in the computer science field.
Daylight Reviews
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've been developing software for computers since Win 3.1 (ca 1993). I have experience writing for numerous platforms (Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android) and innumerable programming languages (C++, C++/MFC, .NET/C#, JavaScript, etc) and technologies (web (HTML/CSS), ElectronJS)
Each year I search for a book that will shed some light on computer science related items (algorithms, data structures, etc.) Over the years I've seen the academic tomes (Knuth, Cormen, etc) and I generally read about 2-5 pag
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My skill level - intermediate

I cannot recommend this book enough! It takes a topic that is pretty essential to understand if you care about developing good software, but one that is talked about in very mathematical and technical terms in most places, and presents it in easy to understand language.

The step-by-step, illustrated walkthroughs were a godsend and, while I don't by any means claim to be an expert in either data structures or algorithms after reading it, I do understand some concepts I
Carlos Ramos
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book covered data structures in such a clear way!

All with simple cases and a lot of diagrams, with an overview then with a step by step explanation with an example.

Each structure and algorithm is explained in this simple and clear fashion, that made reading thru it all a breeze.

Of course, it has its complicated parts (like the Dijkstra's algorithm) but in the end you get the gist of it.

I would totally recommend for a total beginner, or even a refresher. I will use it as a reference in the f
David Rissato Cruz
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book is supposed to give you an overview for algorithms and I believed it would be a good refresher, but unfortunately it doesn’t delivery it. Although the chapter sequence is well chosen, there are errors in some examples that completely destroy the explanation. It also lacks of more information in areas that you should go deeper (even for a book which is intended to only scratch the surface) and also there is no consistency in which programming language is being used for the algorithms ac ...more
Hercules Merscher
This book is magical! It condenses a lot of complex topics in easily digestible pieces, very clear and succinct! One big advantage is trying to show the real usage cases of algorithms, since many books on the topic fail to do it.

I should say it leave us without a sample implementation of a hashing function in one chapter, but it has a very good explanation, which makes it still to deserve its 5 stars.

If you're new to the topic or are struggling with more classic books about the topic, this is th
William Anderson
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This books serves as a great intro or refersher to the basics of algorithms. If you dont come from a comp-sci background or are just starting to get into coding this will help you understand what algorithms are and how some fundamental/common/basic ones work. More importantly this book will go over how to evaluate complexity of algorithms and aids in training a beginner on how to look for areas of code to optimize. A quick/fun well-written technical book.
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I earned my Bachelors in Computer Science 15+ years ago. I found this book to be a fantastic refresher of key concepts in data structures and algorithms, some of which I hadn’t given much thought since my college days. I also found that the author many times did a much better job at explaining these concepts than did some of my professors. I think someone in a similar situation as myself, who has familiarity with this topic but is a bit rusty, would be an ideal reader of the book.
Kaj Ström
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: professional
Great for beginners new to the topic. People with more history in computer science might find their fix of algorithms and data structures from more academic sources. The book does not go awfully deep into the subjects, but it is really easy to follow and the examples are really good.

Great way to get started with the topic. Would especially recommend this to people just getting started with programming in general.
Bodo Tasche
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: technology
Nice book for people without a university background and want to start to understand what O(N) means or what basic data structures exist. I would highly recommend this to any person from a RailsGirls Learners group or other similar entry level. Sadly the book is a bit weaker at the last 25%, but it will get you started in learning more about the topics mentioned in the book.
Sergey Ponomarev
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is great if you're an independent developer without any CS grade. It deeps your slowly into basic concepts of algorithm complexity, Big O notation with trivial by classical examples like sorting, trees, and lists.

Alas! If you're already familiar with that stuff and didn't sleep on your CS lessons, you won't find anything new at all. Anyway, it could be worth to refresh your knowledge. I wish the author covered more topics.
Muhammad al-Khwarizmi
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really liked the down-to-earth approach and the relatively agnostic approach of switching between Python, Ruby and JavaScript for implementation. However exposition was occasionally muddled—the approach to partitioning struck me as unusual for example—and the text is a bit short. Increasing the content by 50% to a length of about 300 pages would probably be about ideal.
Pedro Santos
Dec 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Really liked the writing style and the way the problems are explained. It stays a 3* for me because:
* The title says "Level Up Your Skills", but this is basically an introductory book
* It says Second edition but it's still being written and there are a lot of gaps and chapters missing. I was expecting a finished product
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book, it's exactly as the title suggests: a common sense guide to data structure & algorithms!

It mostly solves the problems using Ruby, my favorite programming language and it gives enough of the theories that you understand, but doesn't bore you too much!
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's an amazing book which explains algorithms in an easy to digest manner. A must read who is starting to understand algorithms, it will bring a lot of interest into how different kind of algorithms are chosen based on their performance and the trade off's made. ...more
Jeremy Carman
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: computer-science
This was a lovely book on DS&A. I wish I would have had access to a book like this when I was an undergrad.

For me personally, the book reminded me of some nuances of Big O I had forgotten, as well as helped me work through the graph data structures that I did not do well with back in college.
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book from start to finish, it is one of the cleanest explanations of algorithms and data structures I have read.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Even though I didn't learn anything new, I should note that it's beginner friendly and easy to read if you want to refresh your knowledge. ...more
Ovidiu Neatu
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
A simple step-by-step guide to the basics of algorithms.
Giustino Borzacchiello
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 53challenge
A good introduction to the subject for people who don't want to dive in the mathematics involved in algorithms and data structure. ...more
Jesse Malinosky
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good refresher to quickly get a surface level understanding of some common data structures and algorithms.
Masoud Ghorbani
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great algorithm book with covering fundamental topics.
Hazel Sparks
Jun 15, 2019 rated it liked it
A good introduction, but way too short to call itself a guide.
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